Cats #WordlessWednesday

Cat

 

Second Chance At Love by Ruchita Misra: Author Interview & Giveaway (Winners Declared)

Second Chance at Love Header

Hi guys, I am very very excited to bring you this exclusive interview of author Ruchita Misra. Her third book, Second Chance at Love is about to hit the stores and being privy to insider information, I can tell you it is a fantastic book! Well, being friends with the author has its perks you see 🙂 I am also giving away copies of her book. Yes copies. In plural! I have 5 copies lined up for you guys…! How exciting is that? I have been wanting to do a giveaway ever since the blog turned one but wanted something special. For me, it does not get any more special than giving out my friend’s book 🙂

Ruchita talks about Second Chance at Love

Q. Congratulations on your third book Ruchita! Tell us how are you feeling in the days leading up to the release? Is it the same feeling as TIB and IDDI prerelease period?

A. Thanks, Ankita. No, I am infinitely more nervous and a million times more jittery than I have ever been before a release. Never before have i woken up in the middle of the night wondering what more I can do for my book. It is weird! I think this is happening because so much has gone into this book, that I cannot bear for anything to go wrong.
Second Chance at Love

Q. So what is Second Chance at Love all about?

A. It is a romance that has been inspired from some extraordinary love stories that i have had the fortune to witness around me. The book is about love, about hope, about heart break and about healing. It is about how situations can break even the strongest of us and how some people can ‘unbreak’ the most broken of us. It is my most ambitious book yet and I really hope people will like this book.

This is the story of Bindiya and Samar.

Bindiya Saran, 28, is happy go lucky, cheerful and sometimes careless, a demeanour adopted to hide a sad, shameful past. When she is chosen to consult for a prestigious project, she must work with the hugely unpopular Samar ‘Satan’ Chauhan. He is filthy rich, the second in command at India’s largest conglomerate and is a hard task master who cannot and will not tolerate mediocrity. He also has a past he does not wish to talk about.

Samar is like an angry lion , restlessly pacing the cage he is locked up in, snarling angrily at anyone who dares to come close to him. And Bindiya is like this cheerful little kitten who bounces around merrily and before either of them can stop what is happening, and much to their surprise, Bindiya and Samar find themselves closer than they had imagined. The book is about whether they will be able to overcome their own demons to accept the love that stands before them.

 

Q. You have hinted on your facebook page that you are trying out a different genre with Second Chance at Love. We are curious. Tell us more!

A. I have now moved from romantic comedy – both ‘The (In)eligible Bachelors’ and ‘I Do! Do I?’ were rom-coms- to my first serious romance. It is darker than the previous books and i think a lot more mature. It deals with topics that I would not have dreamt of dealing with say 2 years back.

 

Q. Was it difficult for you to shift from a Rom Com to Serious Romance?

A. No. Infact it was most natural. I was 25 when I wrote my first book. I had lived a very sheltered life till then, my family had treated me like a ball of cotton. I had hardly seen the world, was very happy-go-lukcy, could laugh off most things and i loved theatrics. I think TIB reflected all of this. TIB was, in essence, what I was 6 years back.

Cut to SCAL- I have now lived away from home for 6 years, started life in a new country, worked in London, travelled the world, been through and seen close friends and family go through rough patches, became a wife and most importantly and life alteringly, became a mother. All of this – life- gives you perspective. And i daresay, makes you wiser, calmer and more mature. SCAL is in essence, what i am now.

However, I do retain my sense of humour and I hope to be able to get back to Kasturi day.

 

Q. You have partnered with Zariin Jewellers for Second Chance at Love. How did that come about?

A. Marketing of books has entered a new and very exciting phase. The author is a brand and is treated like one. I am lucky, my publishers, Harper Collins India, have a fabulous marketing team and we have partnered with multiple brands for SCAL. This includes Satya Paul, Zariin Jewellers, Essenza di Wills.

Zariin Jewellers collab with Second Chance at Love

Q. Everyone who knows you said that the protagonist in your earlier books, Kasturi Shukla is a lot like you. How do you react to that? Do you like it or you want to tell them – “Kas is Kas and I am me!!”

A. Haha.

While I vehemently denied it then, the more I think about Kasturi now, the closer I come to the realisation that Kasturi indeed had a lot of me in her. I think any author’s first book is most autobiographical and mine was no different.

Will we see more of Kasturi and the gang in future? Any plans of turning that into a trilogy or would you continue trying different genres?

I honestly do not know. I think after SCAL will come another story with a new set of characters (not Kas) but who knows what will happen after that. As they say, never say never.

 

Q. What inspires you to write? Do you draw inspiration from the people around you? Ever paused in a conversation and said, “that will go into my book”?

A. It is a difficult question to answer and the process is actually a lot more complex than that. I get these flashing images of scenes that have people I do not yet know. These images are very clear and vivid, enticing enough for my brain to start whirring into motion. The characters then begin to take shape, and gradually the story emerges. Sounds like end of the pier stuff, I know, but honestly that is how things work for me. With time, this story will gain power and begin to consume me in a way that i will not be able to ignore it. And then I will HAVE to write. I am sure I get inspired by people around me, but if that happens that happens at a subconscious level.

 

Q. What is Ruchita – the woman like? How would you describe her?

A. It is difficult for me to answer that. I can probably tell you who I think I am but I think a better answer will be talk about what I want to be.

I want to be someone who is very stable in her response to situations- I am beginning to realise that no joy is only joy, there is some thing wrong always and similarly no sorrow is only grief, there is always a silver lining. I want to be someone who is respectful not only of elders but of life around her. And I want to be someone who can see and focus on the good in everyone.

 

Q. And finally, any parting thoughts?

A. A lot of hard work has gone into my latest book and I genuinely feel that this is a story that will resonate with anyone who has been or hopes to be love.  The first few reviews are trickling in and readers seem to be loving it! So if you are looking for a romance, please do order a copy.

Second Chance At Love on Amazon

You can order the book on Amazon by clicking on the widget below or scroll down to enter the giveaway…

Second Chance At Love Giveaway

All right, on to the giveaway. The rules are simple really. I dislike giveaways with a long list of to-dos. So have kept this really simple. Here are the rules –

  1. Follow me on Twitter (@LifstyleProBlog) This is a mandatory step and earns you 5 entries
  2. Tweet about the giveaway. Please do this from within the widget so that your entry gets counted. This is optional and gets you 5 entries. You can do this step once everyday to increase your chances of winning!
  3. The giveaway is open till 21st Jan 2016. I will announce a winner after that.
  4. The giveaway is open to residents of India only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do drop in a comment after you have entered the giveaway so that I can validate your entries.

Blogging DNA #MicroblogMonday #MondayMusings

Blogging DNA

Blogging DNA

I have it. Blogging DNA. If you have read my BNLF post, you know that I have been blogging for more than a decade. I quit several times due to life events, shortage of time or just lack of motivation. But I came back to it every time. My tee in the pic above says it all!

I am saying this today because LifestyleProBlog.me completes a year today. I published the customary Hello, World on 29th September 2015. This last one year has been fantastic. I want to thank all of you who have read, liked and commented on my posts. Sincere heartfelt gratitude towards all of you! I plan on doing a round up and the learning from this year soon! Plus there is exciting stuff brewing. Stay Tuned…

Linking up to MicroblogMondays and MondayMusings

 


Day 27 – September Blogging Challenge


 

 

A Fantastic Dining Experience at Eat Pray Luv, Mumbai

Eat Pray Luv

There are foodies and then there are FOODIES. I belong to the latter category. One look at me and you would know. When it comes to food, I am willing to try most things. Most things that look edible 🙂 My first brush with a non Indian cuisine was Italian. I had a pizza and a pasta and was mesmerised! Needless to say then, when Disha from K.I.S.S who I met at the Indiblogger Dove Meet invited me to join her and a few more foodies at the Chef’s Table that she was curating, I jumped at the idea. I had heard about Chef David Cananzi but did not know that he has opened his own place called Eat Pray Luv at Hill Road, Bandra.

Eat Pray Luv
How cool is this Sign?

Ambiance at Eat Pray Luv

The decor is done up in a theme of blue and white. It is a very relaxing atmosphere with the idea of relaxing you for the meal coming your way. We sat at the deck overlooking the pool and that is one of the best seating locations! A highlight of the decor is chef Davide’s baby – his traditional wood fired oven. He told us that there are no more ovens in the kitchen and everything they serve is made right there in front of the guests! The bar is tastefully done and not overstocked like some other places I have been to.

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Food at Eat Pray Luv

I was looking forward to digging into some authentic Mediterranean fare and I was not disappointed. The chef had an array of dishes planned for us. After a point we had to beg him to stop, we were so so stuffed. We started off with the staff’s recommendation of Spanish Sangrias and Berry Mocktails. The Sangria was absolutely refreshing and full of peachy flavour. The glass looked so inviting that I did not even remember to pause and click a picture! After two Sangrias, I switched to the Berry Mocktail and found it equally refreshing with a tangy flavour. Both the drinks were a perfect accompaniment to the meal and would work anytime in the hot Indian weather.

We sampled the Capricciosa pizza that was the prettiest (and the tastiest) pizza on the table with cherry tomatoes, rocket and ricotta. The ham pizza was high on flavour too but it was a bit too salty. The baked aubergines with ricotta and Parma ham was divine. The brinjals (or aubergines if you wanna call them that) were melt in your mouth. The chef gave a twist on the Sicilian Dessert Cannoli and stuffed it with Tuna instead. The savory starter was light and delicious. Perfect for a summer dinner! We also sampled Spaghetti stuffed chicken wings and Jerk spiced chicken. Both were top notch on presentation and had a healthy dose of spice as well. For the main course, we were served the seafood soup which was extremely wholesome. I did not care much for it because I was stuffed already. I actually preferred the vegetarian soup which was a Russian Borsch. When they brought out the Burrata, I was kicking myself for hogging the pizza. I tasted the creamy asparagus and rose petal risotto but gave the pumpkin and peanut ravioli a miss. All of us begLifestyle Of A Professionalged the chef to skip straight to dessert! The double chocolate mousse with strawberry chilli jam was the perfect dessert to end the meal with. I would have happily gone home had Disha not told me about chef Davide’s famous Tiramisu. It was heavenly!! Second only to the Tiramisu I have had in Sausalito, San Francisco.

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And finally, a great part of the evening was meeting so many bloggers. Some I had met before, some I had interacted online and some I had never even heard of. It was a fun group and the easy conversation filled the gaps in the courses real well 🙂

Bloggers at Eat Pray Luv
Bloggers at Eat Pray Luv (Pic Courtesy – http://www.maaofallblogs.com)

I have also reviewed the restaurant on Zomato. You can read my review of Eat Pray Luv on Zomato here

 

Washed Ghee – My new Skincare Mantra

Washed Ghee

Yes, you read that right. I said Ghee. Ghee, the strong smelling, fat friendly ghee! The very ghee that our grandmothers and mothers lovingly dole up on food and we plead them not to. A little bit of an effort and the very same ghee turns into a wonderful, all natural skincare product. It is an Ayurvedic recipe called Shata Ghaut Dhrita that literally translates into Hundred Times Washed Ghee. The procedure is simple and transforms the texture of ghee to an incredible soft cream that gets absorbed into the skin easily, leaving behind super soft moisturised skin. Apparently, this recipe helps the ghee penetrate through all the seven layers of the skin! So even an oily skinned person like me benefits from it. If you are worried about the scent, don’t worry. It disappears! Plus, I added something special to my recipe. Read on to know what it is…

What is Washed Ghee?

Washed Ghee is traditionally prepared by placing organic cow ghee is a copper vessel and washing it with purified water a 100 times. In ayurveda, the process is done by hand entirely and special mantras are chanted. The result is a cool cream that is said to soothe the skin as it becomes very cool. I first heard of this on Tanveer’s blog Addicted To Blush. She deserves the credit for introducing me to so many new things regarding health and beauty. One day, I will do a post on all that I learnt from her!!

Why I tried Washed Ghee for Skincare?

I read about washed ghee when my skin was being very very temperamental. It was dull and lifeless and with dry patches. Yet, when I would moisturise it with a chemical cream or oils like olive and almond, it would resemble an oil slick. I needed something that would deep nourish the skin and this was perfect! Within a week of regular usage, my dry patches had disappeared. I apply a thin layer and massage the cream for about 30 seconds. That is all. I made no other changes to my skin routine in terms of face wash or even makeup so the difference was truly due to this.

Why I love Washed Ghee?

After two batches, my cream was over. I was gifted a huge tube of a face cream by a friend. This is one of the best brands in skin care so had to be good. Right? Wrong!!! Within three weeks of shifting to the cream my friend gave me, my dull and dry skin was back. Work was hectic, I was travelling and tired so I kept putting off the making of washed ghee. My skin kept getting worse and worse. To hide that, I was piling on layers upon layers of concealor and foundation each morning. By afternoon, I would be reaching for blotting paper every hour. Then, I kept myself awake one night and made a big batch of washed ghee. Guess what, a week down the line and am back to my BB cream. No more foundation and heavy concealing for me!

How to make Washed Ghee at Home?

The first time I made washed ghee at home, I followed Tanveer’s recipe. But the beauty of a DIY recipe is that you can experiment and add your own touch to it. You can make it your own. So after that, I changed things a bit and followed these steps:

Get your Ingredients for Washed Ghee Together

  1. Bowl & Spoon – You will need a large clean bowl. There will be fare amount of splashing and sloshing. Also, the ghee will expand in volume. So, large bowl helps. I have used steel and glass both. I was happier with the results in the glass bowl. The biggest benefit of using glass is that there is no possibility of a reaction with the other ingredients. You will need a clean spoon as well.
  2. Cow Ghee – I used store bought cow ghee at room temperature. Each time, I used 4 table spoons. The cream was good for two months in each case. This is also because being oily skinned, I use a small pea sized amount. In case you are dry skinned and need heavier moisturisation, it would last lesser.
  3. Water – I used water from an RO filter both times. I did wonder of pure water here meant distilled water. But since I made both batches on impulse, I did not have distilled water.
  4. Secret Ingredient – Now this is simple. Any essential oil. Whatever rocks your boat! I used lavender in one batch and mint in the other. I preferred the mint one because the fragrance just wakes me up in the morning. Lavender one is good when you are in the mood to relax 🙂
  5. Towel – The process can be a bit messy so it is a good idea to have a large towel around. I wore an old tee and spread the towel on my lap.
  6. Container – An air tight container is what I would recommend. I stored it in a metal tin once , a plastic tub and then a glass bottle. I found no difference in either! Choose the prettiest container you like for your DIY cream!

Wash the ghee with water

Pour the ghee in your bowl and add an equal amount of water. Use the spoon and whisk the ghee. This is where the splashing and sloshing happens so be careful. I stirred the ghee and water clockwise ten times and then anti clockwise for another ten. Then repeated it twice and throw the water. There is no logic here.  The change of direction ensures my wrist and fingers get exercise and the count helps me track time. That is all.

Washed Ghee - Step 1

Strain the ghee

This step is really tricky. You are supposed to strain the ghee and get rid of the water completely. So, I cheat here. I use the spoon to scoop the ghee to one side of the bowl and pour the water out. You would find that the water settles to the bottom if the bowl and the ghee floats on top. So it is a good idea to scoop and drain two three times.

Repeat washing and straining

Once you have drained out the ghee, add more water to it and keep washing it till the ghee expands in volume and develops a sheen. I generally wash at least 4 times. Each cycle takes me about six to seven minutes. You can do this for as long as you wish. In all my research, I did not come across anyone who actually did this for a hundred times.

Add essential Oils

Once my four washes are done, I add essential oils. The scent of the ghee would have subsided by this time. I add five to six drops of essential oil and then wash two more times at least. Each time, I add the essential oil. I read a few blogs where the essential oil was added at the end. I believe that would retain a stronger aroma. However, I wanted the oils to be nicely mixed up in the cream and preferred to repeat the washing.

Store

After the last drain, transfer your washed ghee in a container. Ensure that it is air tight. I prefer to store the cream overnight in the fridge. That firmly sets it and dries off any water still in the ghee. The ghee lasts for two months easily even in the hot humid Indian summer. If you can store it in the refrigerator, it will have an additional cooling and soothing effect on the skin.

Washed Ghee

So that is it!! Have you tried making it? What was your experience like?